Accessing health care has drastically changed over the past year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers are working to make many of those state-mandated changes permanent.
At the halfway point of this year’s legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature is working out the kinks in expanding telehealth access for people across the state. Legislators are discussing several bills on the issue, from interstate telehealth access to addressing how telehealth services are financially reimbursed.
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, is sponsoring an overarching telehealth bill to help codify many of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders on telehealth as many Minnesotans turn to video appointments or phone calls for medical help. …
Rosen’s bill, and a similar bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kelly Morrison of Deephaven in the House, would help streamline the state’s telehealth policies and expand coverage for mental health practitioner and substance use counselor visits. The bills would get rid of a limit on telehealth visits and would also ensure health care professionals get reimbursed at the same rates for telehealth services as they would for in-person appointments.
Rosen noted telehealth services have been especially useful for mental health and substance use disorder care. While there are still some challenges in wording certain areas, such as children’s mental health case management, many health-care experts and advocates say the proposal is a necessary step to help residents throughout the state.